Daily Archives: 22 Sep 2016

Shameful Partisan Pastors

Pastors have no business endorsing any politician.  They also have no business pretending that their particular candidate has anything remotely messianic about himself or herself.  And they certainly have no business suggesting that a serial adulterer and con man is God’s personal choice.

How would they know such a thing if it were even true?  They wouldn’t.  And they don’t.  But like Jerry Falwell Jr and Eric Metaxas, they will say and do anything they have to in order to cozy up to worldly power.

New Spirit Revival Center church pastor Rev. Darrell Scott declared Wednesday that there is a “concentrated satanic attack” being waged against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who is believed by some evangelicals to be God’s choice for president.

Speaking at the Midwest Vision and Values Pastors Leadership Conference held at his church in Cleveland, Scott who is CEO of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, revealed at the event that a “nationally known” preacher had warned Trump prior to the launch of his presidential campaign “that if you choose to run for president, there’s going to be a concentrated Satanic attack against you.”

“He said there’s going to be a demon, principalities and powers, that are going to war against you on a level that you’ve never seen before and I’m watching it every day,” Scott said.

These Pentebabbleists don’t speak for God. I doubt they even know God.  They certainly don’t speak for Christians and no one in the media, or society, should be so confused as to think they do.


Betty Shelby Has Been Charged With First Degree Manslaughter


Prosecutors in Tulsa, Oklahoma, have filed first-degree manslaughter charges against the white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man on a city street.  District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler filed the charges Thursday against officer Betty Shelby, who shot and killed 40-year-old Terence Crutcher on Sept. 16. Dashcam and aerial footage of the shooting and its aftermath showed Crutcher walking away from Shelby with his arms in the air. The footage does not offer a clear view of when Shelby fired the single shot that killed Crutcher. Her attorney has said Crutcher was not following police commands and that Shelby opened fire when the man began to reach into his SUV window. Tulsa police say Crutcher did not have a gun on him or in his vehicle.

Let justice roll down like waters…


Posted by on 22 Sep 2016 in Modern Culture


A Look At The Inner Workings of the Mind of NT Wright…


Comments Off on A Look At The Inner Workings of the Mind of NT Wright…

Posted by on 22 Sep 2016 in Modern Culture


Jerome Zanchi (1516–90) and the Analysis of Reformed Scholastic Christology

9783525551042A new volume from V&R which the good folk there have been kind enough to send along for review.

This is a study of the Christology of Jerome Zanchi (1516–90). Scholars have examined aspects of his theology, but no one has treated his Christology at any length. Filling this gap in the study of reformed scholastic theology in general and Christology in particular, Lindholm has adopted a method that is somewhat atypical for reformation studies. This is not primarily a work in church history, historical or systematic theology, although it draws on and should be of interest to practitioners of these disciplines. Primarily, it is a work of philosophy of religion or what is sometimes called philosophical theology. Philosophical theology analyses theological concepts in their particularity, rooted in various religious traditions.

But a mere historical study will not deliver a proper understanding of Zanchi’s ideas (no more than a historically uninformed philosophical analysis will). Lindholm tries to show that a philosophical engagement with Zanchi brings greater understanding of his Christology. Moreover, this study does not stop at the level of explication: it also critically evaluates the findings. The text as a whole is bound together by doctrinal topics, themes and trajectories important to the 16th century Christological debates as well as by philosophical issues and arguments.

Stefan is a fine scholar.  Consequently, you can expect this to be a fine study. Read the front matter here.  Here is how Lindholm describes his project:

This is a study of the Christology of Jerome Zanchi (1516–90), a leading 16th century reformed scholastic theologian. Scholars have examined aspects of his theology, but no one has treated his Christology at any length. Filling this gap in the study of reformed scholastic theology in general and Christology in particular, I have adopted a method that is somewhat atypical for reformation studies. This is not primarily a work in church history, historical or systematic theology, although it draws on and should be of interest to practitioners of these disciplines. Primarily, it is a work of philosophy of religion or what is sometimes called philosophical theology.

A little further on, after delineating the contents of the study, L. writes

I will look at two scholastic arguments in Chemnitz for multilocation and reconstruct a possible Zanchian response to them.

From my point of view, this is the most interesting aspect of the book.  Here L. actually assumes the persona of Zanchi and argues with one of his contemporaries – a mightily influential one at that – about the ‘location’ of the Risen Lord.  The segment of the volume in which this occurs is stunning in its execution.

Before L. gets there, though, he has a number of details to address including the historical and philosophical contexts of Zanchi’s work.  He next moves to a very philosophically oriented discussion and investigation of the hypostatic union.  This part of the work will be extremely useful to students of the history of Christian philosophy.

The volume concludes with the previously mentioned scholastic arguments of Chemnitz and the rejoinder which Zanchi may well have offered.  In particular L. remarks

A Zanchian response should major on the claim that bodies are in place per se (due to their quantitative dimensions as material beings). If this claim is defensible, it constitutes a challenge to both of Chemnitz’ arguments. The Biel argument starts from the premise that it is natural though not necessary – in some stricter sense than natural necessity – for a corporeal nature to be in place whereas the Durandus-argument takes a step further, saying that single location is a non-essential attribute of bodies. The Biel-argument is content to say that there is some strong tendency or capacity in the human nature to be in one place but that this tendency might be overridden by divine omnipotence. It is possible that the scholastic notion of obediental potency (potentia obedientiae) is in the background here. The second premise in both arguments appeals to divine omnipotence saying that divine omnipotence is not bound by natural tendencies or that there is any contradiction for omnipotence to intervene in a substance’s accidental properties, such as place.

If that makes scant sense it’s because L.’s argument and the delivery of that argument are so tightly interwoven that the many pages preceding this observation are required to be well in mind for it to be comprehended.  This, then, isn’t the sort of volume that one can pick up and ignore the first chapter or the third and skip from one section to the other.  It is meant to be, and has to be, read in sequence as the author intended.  Elsewise, the structure will not be seen in its grandeur and beauty.

This is a niche work.  It will appeal to those who have an interest in the intersection of theology and philosophy.  It will not, however, be of interest to exegetes or biblical scholars.  It is far too focused on the intricacies of philosophy to find the time or space to turn its attention to the particularities of Scripture- the basis and foundation of all theology- whether biblical or philosophical.

Comments Off on Jerome Zanchi (1516–90) and the Analysis of Reformed Scholastic Christology

Posted by on 22 Sep 2016 in Book Review, Books, Church History


The Bee Stings the PCUSA, and the UMC to Boot

According to sources, local Presbyterian Church (USA) minister Reverend Michael Bernstein has been preaching to a completely empty building since sometime in the fall of 1993, when the last remaining church member officially left the congregation.  “No one’s had the heart to tell him,” his wife Jenna told reporters. “Me and the kids stopped attending in the late ’80s, when it became clear that it was turning into some sort of feel-good social club.”

But last Sunday, a visiting relative stopped in to catch Bernstein’s sermon and was reportedly bewildered to find the pastor singing hymns entirely by himself, preaching an inspirational message to absolutely nobody, and wishing everyone well before standing in the door and shaking hands with the entire church body of zero people.The relative then broke the news to Bernstein that his church hasn’t had a single member in over twenty years.

“He’s taking it pretty well so far,” the relative told reporters. “He actually seemed pretty relieved that he doesn’t have to pretend to believe in God or the Bible anymore.”  At publishing time, Bernstein had applied for a pastoral position at a local United Methodist congregation, but hadn’t received a response as no one had been in the building for well over a decade, according to sources.

The PCUSA is what happens to denominations more interested in being culturally relevant than scripturally sound.

Comments Off on The Bee Stings the PCUSA, and the UMC to Boot

Posted by on 22 Sep 2016 in Modern Culture


This is Absolutely True


Comments Off on This is Absolutely True

Posted by on 22 Sep 2016 in Modern Culture


The Lutherans Satirize the Pentebabbleists

Comments Off on The Lutherans Satirize the Pentebabbleists

Posted by on 22 Sep 2016 in Humor, Modern Culture


Denying Her Voice: The Figure of Miriam in Ancient Jewish Literature

9783525551059Newly published by V&R.  It’s a bit outside my area but I think it will be mind-expanding.  More on it in due course once I’ve reviewed it.

Comments Off on Denying Her Voice: The Figure of Miriam in Ancient Jewish Literature

Posted by on 22 Sep 2016 in Book Review, Books, Modern Culture


An Archivist has Rediscovered John Knox’s Bible- Maybe…

Experts believe a unidentified bible held by Glasgow University may have belonged to John Knox – a founding father of the Protestant Reformation.  The large Old Testament, which is printed in Hebrew and Latin, was published in 1546 in Switzerland. It was bequeathed to the university in 1864 by William Euing as part of his collection of about 3,000 Bibles. Archivists now believe that a signature dated 1561, on the reverse of the title page, may have been penned by Knox.

They continue

The find was revealed in an article posted on the university’s webpage by assistant librarian, Robert MacLean. His article quotes leading Knox historian, Prof Jane Dawson, of Edinburgh University. She states: “During his career and in common with most sixteenth-century figures, Knox used a variety of different signatures and writing styles. “In such a Latin/Hebrew Old Testament he would have probably used the Latin abbreviation ‘Jo.’ of his Christian name, Joannes. “The spelling of Knox with a second ‘k’ would also be unusual for him, though this was a variant used by his contemporaries.” Professor Dawson adds: “The signature in the Old Testament is in a formal style and has more in common with the signatures Knox employed in his earlier days acting as a notary. “This makes it appear quite different from the flowing ‘secretary’ hand he commonly used when writing in English or Scots in the early 1560s. “Although there is no match with Knox’s known signatures, there is equally nothing to prevent this being Knox’s book.”

Here’s the evidence:

It sure looks like it could be the real deal.  Maybe.

Comments Off on An Archivist has Rediscovered John Knox’s Bible- Maybe…

Posted by on 22 Sep 2016 in Church History


Oskar Farner: In Memoriam

Oskar Farner was the author of a 4 volume biography of Huldrych Zwingli and one of the editors of the rightly famed Corpus Reformatorum edition of Zwingli’s works.  He was born on 22 September, 1884 and since it’s his birthiversary, I’m remembering him today.

A brief entry on the life of Farner can be found in the Historical Lexicon of Switzerland:

geboren22.9.1884 Unterstammheim,gestorben 16.7.1958 Zürich, ref., von Unterstammheim. Sohn des Alfred, Pfarrers. ∞ 1916 Mary Wieser. Stud. der Theologie in Basel, Marburg, Berlin und Zürich. Ab 1908 Pfarrer in Stammheim, ab 1931 Pfarrer in Zollikon, 1937-50 am Grossmünster in Zürich, bis 1955 Kirchenrat und Kirchenratspräsident, u.a. Chefredaktor des “Kirchenboten für den Kt. Zürich”. 1930 Habilitation für Kirchengeschichte an der Theol. Fakultät der Univ. Zürich, 1938-54 Titularprofessor. F. entfaltete neben seinen kirchl. Ämtern eine äusserst fruchtbare wissenschaftl. Tätigkeit, die zum grössten Teil Huldrych Zwingli (“Das Zwinglibild Luthers” 1931, “Huldrych Zwingli” 1943-60, 4 Bände) und der Zürcher Reformation gewidmet war. 1931 Dr. theol. h.c. der Univ. Basel, 1954 Dr. phil. h.c. der Univ. Zürich.

A more complete look at this impressive scholar’s life is available in Zwingliana where von Muralt published a wonderful obituary.  Here are a few excerpts-

Als Oskar Farner am 22. September 1954 seinen 70. Geburtstag feierte und von der Universität Zürich die Würde eines Doktors der Philosophie ehrenhalber empfing, berichteten die Zwingliana über sein Wirken als Zwingli-Forscher. Heute, da dieses reich gesegnete Leben seinen Abschluss gefunden hat, versuchen wir nochmals, das Ganze zu überblicken und das Werk des Gelehrten in den allgemeinen Zusammenhang der neueren Zwingli-Forschung hineinzustellen.

And, very importantly to note,

Das Bedeutungsvollste im Schaffen Farners liegt aber im folgenden: Noch Emil Egli hatte nach den Selbstzeugnissen Zwinglis die Auffassung vertreten, daß der Schweizer unabhängig von Luther Reformator geworden sei.

That’s right- the chief achievement of Farner was his recognition that Zwingli was a Reformer independent of Luther and not beholden to him in any way.  But that wasn’t his only achievement:

Oskar Farner war im Hauptberuf Pfarrer und Diener der Landeskirche als Mitghed und Präsident des Kirchenrates. Als solcher war ihm die Verkündigung des Wortes Gottes das Eine, was not tut. Aus seinem Leben als praktischer Verkündiger und Seelsorger brachte er das so ungemein lebendige Verständnis für den Verkündiger und Kämpfer des 16. Jahrhunderts mit, Zwingli aber war ihm täglicher Helfer und Berater in seinem Wirken in unserer Zeit. Wie es ihn Zwingli gelehrt hatte, war er bereit, sich von Gott im Dienste seines Evangeliums verbrauchen zu

Din haf bin ich
Mach gantz ald brich.

Farner wurde „der” Sprecher Zwinglis unter uns. Seine Vorträge über den Geist und das Leben des Eeformators atmeten eine Kraft der Unmittelbarkeit, der Dringlichkeit und der Ergriffenheit, die allen, die sie erfahren durften, unvergeßlich bleiben wird.

Comments Off on Oskar Farner: In Memoriam

Posted by on 22 Sep 2016 in Church History, Modern Culture, Zwingli